Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meat and Potatoes

My past few weeks have been 10+ hour efforts packed full of hard hitting MMA, Strength training, swimming, and high mileage winter running.  It’s not easy tearing up muscle daily in a mission to get stronger/faster and is only made possible by eating the most nutrient rich food when I need it.  Keep the grains and processed food – I’m not interested in improving my swim by way of added buoyancy.  I’ll take some lean meat and vegetables for peak performance.

The meat and potatoes of improving athletic performance are killer workouts followed by recovery.   In recovery food comes first followed by rest.  The meat and potatoes of recovery food is, well, meat and potatoes.  Combined with some leafy greens the end result is the perfect blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. 

I have refueled on pretzels peanuts and ice cream in the past – it was stupid then and still is.  Obviously there was little protein for muscle rebuilding.  Less obvious is that after an intense effort blood PH is acidic, eating net acidic foods like grains or dairy does not help.  The body must cannibalize minerals from the bones and muscle to restore the PH to neutral.  That is why recovery foods should be a base PH like vegetables.

Meal prep in advance is the key to maximizing successful workouts.  That’s why I don’t leave the house to do a 20+ miler for 50k training if the fridge is all but empty except for beer, pickles, and Catsup.  The chuck roast I made Sunday has fueled 3 days of activity for my wife and me, a good return for minimal prep time with the only downside being the overall cook time.   

Ingredients for Beef Chuck Roast follow:

3-5lb Beef Chuck Roast (grass fed)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ cup chili powder
½Tbsp Salt
½ Tbsp pepper
1-2 Cups beef stock
3-4 medium potatoes diced
2 Carrots diced
2 cups Pearl onions peeled
2 cups Mushrooms whole
1/2 head garlic peeled, diced
6 dried cayenne peppers

Preheat the oven to 275˚F.  Add the olive oil to a frying pan and heat on low.  Mix the chili powder, salt, and pepper and roll the chuck roast in it taking up all the seasoning.  Brown the chuck roast on all sides in the frying pan about 2 minutes per side.  Add the chuck roast and beef stock to a roasting pan.  Cover and cook for 2-3 hours turning a couple times.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven and increase temperature to 325˚F.  Add the remaining ingredients to the roasting pan and cook covered for 1 more hour.  Enjoy.

My wife thought it would be better with tomatoes.  The whole mushrooms and pearl onions were what made it good for me.  Chuck roast isn’t exactly lean but I wanted practice with roasts before using my venison rump.  This roast was practice for greater things.


  1. fat and protein is the breakfast (and lunch and dinner) of endurance champions! forget carbs, they only last two hours in the body!

  2. My stepmom must have made roast, carrots and potatoes for so many Sunday dinners that my husband didn't realize we ever ate anything else for the first couple of years that we dated (in college). Her recipe was very simple (less ingredients), but made for great leftovers. We used to take a little gravy ad add some tomato sauce and seasoning to it, chunk up the meat and veggies and turn it into a stew to use up the end of it. Great with some cornbread!